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Campagna, Carnahan the winners of the Atlantic City Marathon
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Campagna, Carnahan the winners of the Atlantic City Marathon

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ATLANTIC CITY — John Campagna surprised himself Sunday by winning the 62nd Atlantic City Marathon.

Campagna, 29, of New York City, won the 26.2-mile race in a personal-best 2 hours, 29 minutes, 22 seconds and won by more than two minutes. He has run in “about six or seven marathons,” and it was his first win.

Savannah Carnahan, 24, a former Furman University distance runner, became the women’s champion in her first marathon. She won in 2 hours, 50 minutes, 37 seconds and boasted the sixth best time overall.

Marty McCormick, 41, of Arlington, Virginia, was second in 2:31:33. Michael Keebler, 33, a former Absecon resident and Holy Spirit High School standout now living in Sunderland, Massachusetts, was third in 2:35:15.

Kayla Campasino, 34, of Columbia, Maryland, finished second in the women’s race in 2:56:23. Hannah Anderson, 25, of Fair Haven, Monmouth County, placed third in 2:56:49.

The A.C. Marathon, which started in 1958, is the third-oldest marathon in the U.S. It wasn’t held last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Campagna, a slender 6-foot-3, wore glasses during the race. He was a runner at Ridge High School in Basking Ridge in Somerset County. He went to Rutgers University but didn’t run for the school.

“It feels pretty incredible,” said Campagna. “Winning is very unexpected. I wanted to break 2:30 and it feels good to do that. My best finish before was fifth or sixth in the New Jersey Marathon in Long Branch a few years ago.

“I was in Atlantic City many years ago, but I’ve never run this race. I liked the Boardwalk. It was a flat marathon, and I like that.”

The race was more than half over before Campagna was sure he was leading.

“At a turn I looked to see if there was someone ahead of me, and I didn’t see anyone,” said Campagna, who was born in the Ukraine. “I knew I was leading at mile 17. There was a guy behind me but he was getting tired. The guy in third was too far back.

“My race was consistent. It was windy but that didn’t bother me too much.”

Carnahan, a native of Atlanta, Georgia and now a resident of Princeton, dominated the last third of the women’s race.

“It feels good to win,” Carnahan said. “I went out conservatively. About mile 16 I felt pretty good and caught a runner ahead of me. It felt good at the end.

“This is a fun event and was good to run. I’ve never been to Atlantic City before. I’ve only lived in New Jersey about a year.”

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Keebler, who was also running his first marathon, ran cross country and track and field for Boston College and now lives in that area.

He took a few years off from competing, and said Sunday’s race felt like being a kid again.

“I trained really hard for this, and I have a lot of family and friends who supported me,” Keebler said. “Tim Ritchie, a former teammate in college, has been coaching me.

“I’m pretty happy with my time. It was a pretty fast course. I’d love to see if I can get under 2:30. I actually signed up for it in December of 2019, so I’ve been training for it for two years. I think I’ll run another marathon. I’ll take two weeks off to recover.”

The event also had a half marathon, which started at the same time. Sufa Chala Damessa, 34, of Washington, D.C., was the half marathon winner in 1:09:17. Urgesa Kedir Figa, 26, of New York City, was one second behind in 1:09:18, and Abu Kebede Diriba, 34, also from New York City, finished third in 1:09:49.

Megan Flynn, 29, of Summit, Union County, was the women’s champion in 1:19:25. Yulady Saluti, 41, of Howell, Monmouth County, took second in 1:27:02, and Allison McQuillen, 28, of Spring Lake, Monmouth County, was third in 1:31:49.


Top 10 male finishers

1. John Campagna, New York City, 2:29:22; 2. Marty McCormick, Arlington, Virginia, 2:31:33; 3. Michael Keebler, Sunderland, Massachusetts, 2:35:15; 4. Peter Ehmann, Morristown, 2:45:11; 5. Matt McDavitt, Lincroft, 2:50:15; 6. Matt Sampson, Keyport, 2:51:12; 7. James Pearce, Rockville, Maryland, 2:51:28; 8. Tyler Noyes, Delran, 2:51:43; 9. Jamie Gray, Philadelphia,2:51:53; 10. Jeff Ruggini, Bridgewater, 2:51:54.

Top 10 female finishers

1. Savannah Carnahan, Princeton, 2:50:37; 2. Kayla Campasino, Columbia, Maryland, 2:56:23; 3. Hannah Anderson, Fair Haven, 2:56:49; 4. Elizabeth Swierzbinski, Wilmington, Delaware, 2:57:51; 5. Grace Chesley, Warrenton, Virginia, 2:57:52; 6. Kym Hyde, Jersey City, 3:03:19; 7. Jessica Andre, Waldwick, 3:08:05; 8. Charlotte Leap, Washington, D.C., 3:08:45; 9. Natalie Yang, New York City, 3:10:14; 10. Keara McGraw, Tampa, Florida, 3:10:49.


Top 10 male finishers

1. Sufa Chala Damessa, Washington, D.C., 1:09:17; 2. Urgesa Kedir Figa, New York City, 1:09:18; 3. Abu Kebede Diriba, New York City, 1:09:49; 4. Jeff Savage, Washington D.C., 1:15:10; 5. Dakota Dalzell, Weehawken, 1:15:17; 6. Brian Mann, Conshohocken, Pennsylvania,1:16:26; 7. Joe Hegge, Riverside, 1:19:21; 8. Markus Siegelin, Teaneck, 1:21:25; 9. Jed Fantastico, New York City, 1:21:34; 10. Sean Quinn, Ardmore, Pennsylvania, 1:22:23.

Top 10 female finishers

1. Megan Flynn, Summit, 1:19:25; 2. Yulady Saluti, Howell, 1:27:02; 3. Allison McQuillen, Spring Lake, 1:31:49; 4. Amber Finlay, Germantown, Maryland, 1:31:54; 5. Colleen Vicente, Oaklyn, 1:34:45; 6. Joanne Chan, Woodbridge, 1:36:11; 7. Gelly Neustadt, Spring Valley, New York, 1:37:32; 8. Ryan Woolley, Washington, D.C., 1:38:02; 9. Tara Mousaw, Marmora, Upper Township, 1:38:19; 10. Ashley Fizzarotti, Gillette, 1:40:00.

Contact Guy Gargan:



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Staff Writer

I’ve been at The Press since January of 1983. I cover all sports in general, but mostly lifeguard racing, and high school field hockey, football, swimming, basketball, crew, baseball and softball.

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